WE’RE right in the heart of convertible season and this week I had the chance to drive the rather beautiful Mercedes-Benz E-Class Cabriolet.

Drop-top driving in the form of the Cabriolet starts from £38,465 and it’s actually just as nice to drive with the roof down as it is when it’s closed, thanks to the Aircap wind deflector which, ironically, prevents it being draughty when the roof’s down.

The sound-insulating acoustic roof can also be opened or closed in less than 20 seconds while driving at speeds of up to 25mph.

The new E-Class Coupé and Cabriolet are available in two model lines – the SE, for the E220 CDI engine only, and AMG Sport, offered on three diesel engines (E220 CDI, E250 CDI and E350 BlueTEC) and one petrol – the E200.

It has a completely revised front end appearance with new bi-xenon headlamps comprising a single headlamp lens, and the single lamella Sport grille.

There is a new front bumper with a more pronounced V-shape and large air intakes and, at the rear, new tail lamps and wide-effect rear bumper with ‘wing design’ and chrome-look trim.

In addition, the SE benefits from 17-inch five twin-spoke alloy wheels, leather upholstery with heated front seats and dark aluminium trim.

The AMG Sport models are enhanced by 18-inch twin-spoke alloy wheels, upgraded front brakes featuring branded calipers and perforated discs, new AMG bodystyling, visible twin-pipe exhaust, an AMG steering wheel in nappa leather with flattened bottom section and AMG floor mats.

Cabriolets aren’t generally known for their boot space, but this one isn’t too bad with 390 litres.

It’s a rather elegant and refined drive and the seats are incredibly comfortable too. This model came with a few nice options, including a neck-level heating system integrated into front head restraints, delivering warm air to head and neck area, £365, and comfort-ventilated front seats – seat heating and cooling at £700.

Optional safety gear includes Distronic Plus with Steering Assist, which can keep the car firmly in its lane at a safe distance from preceding traffic.

Other options includes the new full LED Intelligent Light System (£1,280), new Aragonite Silver metallic paint (£645) and new leather upholstery colours in Espresso Brown, Deep Sea Blue and Bengal Red.

Mercedes E-Class Cabriolet E220 CDI SE
Price: £46,830
Top speed: 143mph
0-62mph: 8.7 seconds
Fuel: 58.9mpg (combined)
CO2 emissions: 126g/km